Upright piano; John Brinsmead & Sons Ltd. (estab. 1836, closed 1920); c. 1880; X...


Upright piano

About this object

This piano belonged to Marion Millar (nee Clendon) and was used by her at Harena, the homestead built by her and her husband, Thomas, on the Waima River. According to her daughter, Florence Keene, Marian was "an accomplished pianist, she often entertained guests on a summer's evening as they sold in the cool air on the verandah." (1)

During the Victorian era, young girls and women were often taught how to play the piano as it not only provided a creative outlet, but was also a vital source of entertainment. Often, families and friends would gather around the piano to sing songs and hold soirees.

This piano was donated to Clendon House in c. 1974, as Marian was the daughter of the house’s original owner, Captain James Reddy Clendon and his second wife, Jane Takotowi Clendon (nee Cochrane). Marian was born on 16 June 1864. As a young girl, Marian and her siblings were taught by a governess, Mrs Bennett, in the attic room under the gables of Clendon House. At the age of 17, she married Thomas Lumsden Millar, the Postmaster at Rawene, and they had seven children George Frederick Graham, Edward Lumsden, Trevor Clendon, Thomas Lumsden, Frances Edith, Ruth Takotowi and Marion Elizabeth, more commonly known as Peggy. Marion died in 1961 at the age of 97 years.

(1), Florence Keene, 'Under Northland Skies: Forty Women of Northland', 1984, p. 119.

For more information about the Clendon family and Clendon House, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.


John Brinsmead & Sons Ltd. (estab. 1836, closed 1920)

Maker Role


Date Made

c. 1880

Place Made

London, England

Medium and Materials

Wood, walnut and brass

Inscription and Marks

A maker's label is located on the inside of lid and reads 'John Brinsmead & Sons Ltd.'


124.5 x 138 x 65.5cm

Credit Line

Collection of Clendon House, Heritage New Zealand Historic Pouhere Taonga

Object Type

Musical instrument

Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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